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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter I
Until 1908 I wanted for nothing; I never thought about money; I did and went as I chose. But from that time on I knew the depths of poverty. I lived once for three weeks on tea (without milk or sugar) and dry bread so that my three [13] children could have what was essential to eat. As a girl, I visited for weeks at a time in many great houses; yet I have worked as a factory hand to support the children. It was a sardine cannery and I still do not care to look a sardine in the eye. My friends (and I use the word in its true sense) have ranged all the way from the very lowest type of person on through all classes to include such people as the Grand Duke Alexander, the brother-in-law of the late Czar of Russia. I have never lived for any length of time in one place, for the Gemini person is always on the move. My small grandson (who is also a true Gemini) crossed the Atlantic twice and was through the Panama Canal on two occasions before he was four years old. From another angle, if I did not watch myself with the greatest care, I would always be either in the heights of happiness and exhilaration or overcome with despair and in the depths of depression. As the result of much experience I have learnt to repudiate both extremes and endeavor to live on a tableland. I have not altogether succeeded.

My major life conflict has been the battle between my soul and my personality and that still goes on. As I write this I am reminded of a meeting of a certain "Group Movement" to which I was inveigled in 1935 at Geneva, Switzerland. A smug, hard-faced, smiling "professional" Grouper was present as leader and there were a lot of people eager to testify to their wickedness and to the saving power of Christ, giving the impression that God was personally interested as to whether (as one of them testified) she apologized to her cook for rudeness. To me, good manners and not God should have been sufficient incentive. Anyway, a charming woman got up - elderly, smart and twinkling with humor. "I am sure you have a wonderful testimony to make," said the leader. "No," replied the lady, "no, the battle is still on between Christ and me and it's quite debatable who [14] will come out on top." That battle is always on and, in the case of a Gemini who is awake and serving, it becomes a very vital matter and also a rather private one.

Gemini people are also supposed to be chameleon-like in nature and changeable in quality and often double-faced. I am none of these, at least, in spite of many faults and it is possible that my rising sign saves me. Leading astrologers, to my amusement, assign different signs as my rising sign - Virgo, because I love children and cooking, and "mothering" an organization; Leo, because I am very individual (by which they mean difficult and dominant) and also very self-conscious; and Pisces, because that sign is the sign of the mediator or the intermediary. I am inclined myself to Pisces, because I have a Pisces husband, because my very dear eldest daughter was also born in that sign and we always understood each other so well that we frequently used to quarrel. Also, I have definitely acted as an intermediary in the sense that certain teaching which the Hierarchy of Masters wanted to get out to the world during this century is contained in the books for which I have been responsible. Anyway, no matter what my rising sign, I am a true Gemini subject and that sign has apparently conditioned my life and circumstances.

My childhood general and rather inchoate unhappiness was founded on several things. I was the plainest of an exceedingly good looking family and I am not plain. I was always regarded as rather stupid when in the schoolroom and as the least intelligent of an intelligent family.

My sister was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen and her brains are superlative. I have always been devoted to her though she has no use for me, being a most orthodox Christian and regarding anyone who has had the misfortune to get a divorce as quite without the pale. She is a doctor and was one of the first women in the long, long [15] history of Edinburgh University to win distinction and - if I remember correctly - she did this twice. She was quite young when she published three books of poetry and I have read reviews of these books in The London Times Literary Supplement, hailing her as England's greatest living poetess. A book she wrote on Biology and another on Tropical Diseases were, I believe, regarded as standard text books.

She married my first cousin, Laurence Parsons, who is a prominent ecclesiastic of the Church of England and was at one time Dean of Cape Colony. His mother was the guardian, appointed by the Courts of Chancery, to take care of my sister and myself. She was my father's youngest sister, and Laurence was one of her six boys with whom we spent much time as children. Her husband, my Uncle Clare, a somewhat hard and stern man, was the brother of Lord Rosse and son of the Lord Rosse of telescope fame, mentioned in The Secret Doctrine. As a child I was terrified of him, yet before he died, he showed me another side of his nature and one which is not well known. His exceeding kindness to me during the first world war when I was stranded in great poverty in America, I shall never forget. He wrote me helpful and understanding letters and made me feel that there were those in Great Britain who had not forgotten me. I want to mention this here, because I do not believe that his family or his daughter-in-law, my sister, had the faintest idea of the friendly and happy relationship which existed between me and my uncle towards the end of his life. He never spoke of it, I am sure, and I have not done so until now.

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